NYAGATARE - A rice farmer’s cooperative operating in Cyabayaga valley in Nyagatare District, CODELIVAM, has made a loss of about Rwf250million, according a recent audit report.
The cooperative is made up of over 800 members. The report, conducted by internal auditors whose copy was seen by The New Times, attributed the loss to lack of accountability and poor financial management of the cooperative leaders. The leaders have since resigned, according to sources.
Reacting to the report, members accused their top leaders of incompetence and embezzlement.
And due to the losses, the members complain that they have not been paid for their rice produce, for the last couple of months.
On Monday, several residents demanding their payment waited for hours under the scorching sun, at the rice valley without being paid.
“It is very absurd for one to toil and earn nothing out of his sweat. Our top leaders are just corrupt. They have embezzled a lot of cooperative funds,” one of the farmers who asked not be named said.
“What is most disappointing is that those leaders who embezzled cooperative funds are currently engaged in other businesses without being prosecuted,” he added.
Another farmer, who gave his name only as Alex, claimed that they are unable to fend for their families.
“We have been coming here for the last two months demanding for our money to no avail. Consequently, some of us have failed to pay school fees for our children and health insurances,” Alex said.
However, in an interview with the chairman of the cooperative management board, Rafiki Theofile Harerimana, he said arrangements are under way to sort out the debts.
“Farmers are supposed to collect their money by the end of the day but this depends on the market we get from outside buyers. So far we have paid them Rwf13 million,” he said, adding that they are negotiating with other rice dealers in Kigali for more sales.
In a separate interview, Francois Uhoraningoga, CODELIVAM president, assured members that by the end of this month more than 95% of them will have got their money.
He attributed the delays in payment to inadequate market for their rice. It emerged that close to 800 tonnes of rice have been pending in the cooperative stores.